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Old 03-05-2009, 11:43 AM   #1
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Barnes & Noble buys Fictionwise for $15.7 million

Reported this morning by TeleRead and confirmed by a press release and a large banner on the home page of the site, the traditionally brick and mortar bookseller Barnes & Noble have acquired the popular ebook vendor Fictionwise.

Scott Pendergrast of Fictionwise confirms that business will continue as usual for all three of their sites (Fictionwise, eReader and eBookwise), with Fictionwise maintaining its current team and management, and reassures its customers that B&N is fully supportive of Fictionwise's traditional policy of plateform neutrality. It could also be very good news for the industry standard format epub, which Fictionwise supports, with B&N giving new weight to this format through their relationship with publishers.

Speculation about what this could mean for the book shopping experience in particular is rampant. Many of us are hoping that Barnes & Noble will seize the opportunity to more fully integrate digital reading with the brick and mortar browsing experience so dear to many an avid reader, via more visible and thorough integration of the two distribution methods.

For example, imagine browsing the shelves of your favorite bookshop, noting down titles or simply stacking up books, then heading to the in-store ebook kiosk or to the cashier to purchase the digital editions and download them instantly to your device. Even if they don't immediately implement in-store ebook terminals, perhaps they'll emphasize the availability of certain titles as digital editions with special displays, or some kind of visual indication in the shelves : perhaps something as simple as shelf labels saying "This book is available for your digital reader on Fictionwise.com". We can also hope that B&N will be able to negotiate more deals with publishers for digital editions of their books, available via Fictionwise.

How would you like to see this acquisition play out ? What suggestions would you make to B&N and Fictionwise that would make your book-shopping experience richer and more satisfying ?

Join the ongoing discussion in this thread to talk about the implications of this news.


Further reading :
TeleRead article
Press release
Fictionwise Q&A about the acquisition
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